Observers are suggesting that the members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) should send their union dues instead to local charity after CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn made a series of posts on social media that seemingly express support to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Israel recently was subjected to a massive, large scale attack by Hamas forces on the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur war. Not even an hour later, Israel’s defence force declared a state of war as it worked to address the matter.
Hahn then posted his support to the Palestinian side of the war, including a poster that bears the maxim: “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
The union leader also tweeted appreciation for the so-called “resistance” as it coincides with Thanksgiving.
“As we all think about reasons to be thankful this #thanksgiving2023, I know I’m thankful for the power of workers, the power of resistance around the globe. Because #Resistance is fruitful and no matter what some might say, #Resistance brings progress, and for that, I’m thankful,” he posted.
Dr. David Jacobs, president of the Ontario Association of Radiologists, advised CUPE members to send their union dues instead “to a registered charity in protest” of Hahn supporting Hamas.
Another X user, Seann McAleese, also posted a link that directs users to “the applications process for employees who want an exemption from the union security provisions of a collective agreement because of their religious convictions or beliefs.”
This comes as a branch of the union, CUPE Local 3906, faced criticism and backlash for a social media post celebrating the “resistance” in Palestine. On October 7th, the union local, which represents academic workers such as research assistants and sessional faculty at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, posted the message on X (formerly known as Twitter): “Palestine is rising, long live the resistance.”
The now-deleted post included a quote attributed to Ghassan Kanafani, a deceased Palestinian author associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine: “Everything in this world can be robbed and stolen, except one thing; this one thing is the love that emanates from a human being towards a solid commitment to a conviction or cause.”
In the same tweet, CUPE Local 3906 shared a social media post featuring a video of a tractor tearing down fencing, accompanied by a comment from the author, Nadi Abusaada, emphasizing the aspiration for an open, liberated geography while addressing colonialism.
“Colonialism stifles imagination. Today, as Palestinians break down colonial barriers, they breathe life into the dream of an open, liberated geography,” the comment read.
The post drew condemnation from several prominent figures. Melissa Lantsman, deputy leader of the Conservative Party and a member of Parliament for Thornhill, criticized the union’s celebration of terrorism. Author and psychologist Jordan Peterson also criticized CUPE Local 3906, highlighting the hypocrisy of those who cloak themselves in sympathy for the oppressed while promoting hatred toward the Jewish community.
“The most vicious purveyors of hatred toward the Jews cloak themselves in sentiment and the pretence of sympathy for the ‘oppressed’,” Peterson said.
Lianne Rood, Conservative MP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex and shadow minister for federal economic development for Eastern, Central, and Southern Ontario, expressed her disgust: “How can a Canadian union support the brutality of Hamas terrorists?”
Hahn acknowledged the tweet from McMaster CUPE Local 3906 with a “like.” He also reposted a tweet from Jewish Voice for Peace, which read, “The Israeli government may have just declared war, but its war on Palestinians started over 75 years ago. Israeli apartheid and occupation—and United States complicity in that oppression—are the source of all this violence.”
In response to the controversy, McMaster University released a statement expressing sympathy for those affected by the recent attacks in the region.
“The attacks this weekend have had a terrible impact on people in the university’s community. Our thoughts are with our students, faculty and staff, both Israeli and Palestinian, who have family and loved ones in the area,” the university said in a statement.
In a separate statement posted on its website titled “Violence is never a solution,” McMaster University expressed its shock and disappointment at CUPE Local 3906’s comments. While acknowledging the union’s right to express its views, the university made it clear that it disagreed with any statement condoning violence.
Information for this briefing was found via The Epoch Times and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.